The controversy cropped up after the state government received a letter from the ministry of external affairs mentioning that the chief minister has been invited to an event in Rome which, the letter said was, “not conducive of participation for a state chief minister”. The event is scheduled to take place in Rome on October 6 and 7.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was invited to Rome by the Community of Sant’ Egidio – a Catholic association dedicated to social service – to participate in the international event in Rome, the World Meeting for Peace “Peoples as Brothers, Future Earth”, on 6 and 7 October this year where Pope Francis, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are likely to be present.
Mamata accepted the invitation. It was decided that she would visit Rome after the by-election in Bhabanipur. Mamata was also preparing to go to Rome but this sudden letter from the central government has changed everything.
Speaking at a public rally in Bhabanipur, the chief minister didn’t conceal her anger. “The Prime Minister can go abroad. Why I shall be disallowed to attend a function abroad? I was stopped only out of jealousy,” a furious Banerjee said.
Previously the chief minster was also disallowed to go to Chicago where she was supposed to address a gathering at Belur Math, the global headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, to mark 125 years of Swami Vivekananda’s historic speech at the Parliament of Religion, Chicago. At that time also the chief minister had termed it as an ‘unholy conspiracy’.
“No one can go to America or Britain with covaxin. The World Health Organization has not given it recognition yet but the Prime Minister went with special permission. There are many people who cannot go abroad because they have taken covaxin. The Prime Minister went and I don’t have any problem with that but why was I not allowed to represent? I used to go there and represent Hinduism. He speaks much about Hindutva but disallows me. This is nothing but jealousy,” she added. (Agency)